The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

December 21, 2013

December 21, 1905

Anthony Powell (December 21, 1905 to March 28, 2000) was a much honored English novelist. A Dance to the Music of Time, a multi volume novel about 20th century England, was published between 1951 and 1975. Powell's family includes other literary lights. Historian and mystery author, Antonia Fraser is his niece.

The story is told that this niece asked Powell if she and her husband Harold Pinter could dine with him after they attended the wedding of Anne Somerset, (another historian). In his diary Powell records his response: "I asked if Harold would wear a tailcoat." This is counted a funny quip based on Pinter's lower class origins, and his stout refusal to alter his opinions just because his wife was the daughter of an Earl.

One volume of Anthony Powell's diaries was published in 1996 as Journals 1987-1989. We noticed this excerpt in a review by Edward Pearce.

...[L]ittle things in diaries can be endearing, as Powell truly is when he grieves for Trelawney his old cat and reproaches himself for letting others take Trelawney "to the vet to make an end of things". Trelawney has a moment of being cherished in death like "le petit Peloton", the little dog of Joachim du Bellay. But when a replacement is bought and as endearingly cherished, Powell spoils everything. The family providing the cat are called (amusingly I suppose) ''Snook''. So the kitten is to be called ''Snook''. The ear of the creative writer is closed to the odious condescension of this little act. ...

A Dance to the Music of Time was included on a list of the "100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005." The list was composed for Time magazine.

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